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Below the Belt

The naked guys call their performance "the ancient Australian art of genital origami"; a Denver law firm declares that the show is protected by the First Amendment; and at first, the city didn't know what to make of such a public display. But on Tuesday, September 30, a Puppetry of the Penis duo is expected to wiggle willies on stage at the New Denver Civic Theatre.

The two-member comedy concept first gained exposure in 1998 in Australia. Since then, originators David Friend and Simon Morally have been using their manly appendages to create what they term an "installation medium" for audiences in their Down Under homeland and across the globe. Crowds can't get enough. Now nine pairs of flexible phallus men are loose, jerking their johnsons into over forty shapes, including the Eiffel Tower, the Loch Ness Monster and the Hamburger.

And while parental discretion is advised, Katie Rosin, spokeswoman for the New Denver Civic Theatre, says the penis play is a non-sexual adult display, put on purely for amusement. "This show breaks all the norms," Rosin explains. "It's a wonderful piece of comedic art. There is absolutely nothing sexual or offensive -- it's pure comedy."


Puppetry of the Penis

Tuesdays through Sundays through October 12
New Denver Civic Theatre, 721 Santa Fe Drive

Still, Puppetry of the Penis got a rise from the city last month, when officials questioned whether the venue staging the schlong-sculpting was breaking local liquor laws. However, the city and the theater have untangled the edict, issuing a press release stating, "We are excited at the prospect of hosting this international phenomenon which has played all over the world and now has chosen our venue in Denver."

Well, maybe "excited" was the wrong word, but as Rosin notes, "The situation got blown way out of proportion. The city has been amazing and totally accommodating while still enforcing their laws."

The Denver venue will feature the first Yank to, er, yank his crank: Seattle's Jef Benjamin was chosen by producers as the first non-Australian practitioner from a field of over 100 "penis hopefuls." Simon Bradley, a longstanding Aussie practitioner, will accompany Benjamin.

With no more push and pull from the municipal legal staff, the genital gurus of "gesticulation" can once again focus on winding up their goods and cranking out some quality penile puppetry performances -- by hand.


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